You probably know how frustrating it’s to do tasks on multiple apps and keep repeating that process over and over again. It will be fine if you organize everything well enough. However, in most cases, it’s just time-consuming and a bit annoying. So, if you have to do something more than twice, why not automate it? And, that is what Siri shortcuts or the Shortcuts app are made for. This app will help you do all the grunt work that you don’t want to do in a more effective way.
Siri Shortcuts is one of the biggest and the most awesome updates in iOS 14. But, it barely gets attention at the keynote. Read on to know more about Siri shortcuts and how to use it.
What are Siri Shortcuts?
The app was first introduced in 2018 and Apple has been steadily improving it ever since. Shortcuts provide a quick way to get things done with your apps with a simple tap or by asking Siri. It can automate a wide variety of things. For instance, Siri shortcuts can get directions to the next events on your Calendar, move text from one app to another, or help Siri work like a real AI.
New Updates for Shortcuts in iOS 14
Siri Shortcuts received many refinements in the latest update. One of the major improvements is that you can have a shortcut running on any type of schedule. As long as it doesn’t require interaction, shortcuts can still work in the background.
Also, Apple added new triggers for email and iMessages in this update. So, now you can set up a “special” notification to make sure you respond to important messages or calls immediately. Imagine things like your iPhone will have flashing light notification when you receive a message from a specific person, or it will turn on a voice alarm for business email.
On top of that, with the new widgets, you can basically do everything you want from your home screen now. And, Siri shortcuts pleasantly are part of it, meaning you can access every shortcut you want from the home screen. This feature is a game changer because you still have to open shortcuts in the traditional way without widgets. Plus, you can stack the shortcuts behind another widget and switch between them. So, in many ways running shortcuts is a lot smoother and easier now.
Shortcuts on Apple Watch
With the new update, Shortcuts now run as a standalone app on your Apple watch. Therefore, if you have a cellular watch and you left your phone at home, then it stays connected to your phone and works as usual. Also, there are new ways where you can use watch app actions to control the Apple watch itself from your iPhone. So, it’s a little bit of reverse where you you now can change your watch face using shortcuts. For example, you can set your watch face to automatically change depending on the time of day. Combine it with the time-based automation and you can have it update in the morning, at night, or based on other triggers.
How to Use Siri Shortcuts
Honestly, Siri Shortcuts can be quite confusing for beginners. You might have to know a little bit about variables and codes. So, if you’re brand new to shortcuts, figuring out how to use it effectively may take some time. Here are some basic steps to help you create your own awesome shortcuts:
Create a New Shortcut
- In both iOS 13 and iOS 14, you just need to tap the plus sign symbol in the upper-right corner.
- Choose Add action and a list of action will appear
- Tap and hold an action in the list, then drag it to the position you want in the shortcut editor.
- When you’re finished, tap Next to enter a name for your custom shortcut
- Press the play button if you want to test your new shortcuts.
- Tap Done to save.
Tips: You can also create a new shortcut by touching and holding the Shortcuts app icon on the Home screen and then tapping Create Shortcut. To edit or share your new shortcut, tap the symbol on top-right of your new shortcut.
Create New Folders (iOS 14 Only)
- Open Shortcuts
- Tap on Shortcuts at the top-left of your screen
- Tap on the icon of a folder with a plus symbol
- Name your folder
- Choose an icon
- Tap Add
Add Shortcuts to Folders
- In Shortcuts, tap All Shortcuts
- Choose Select on the top right
- Pick one or more Shortcuts you want to select
- Tap Move
- Choose the folder you want from the list
Use Shortcut Folders in Widgets
Make a folder of your favorite Shortcuts, then tell the widget to display that folder with these steps:
- Add Shortcuts widget to your screen
- Tap Done to finish adding
- Press and hold on the Shortcuts widget
- Choose Edit Widget
- Tap on Folder on the dialog box
How to Organize Shortcuts
In Library (iOS 13)
- In Shortcuts, choose Library
- Tap and hold on the shortcuts you want to move
- Move to your desired order.
- After you’re finished, tap Done.
In Library (iOS 14)
- Open Shortcuts.
- Tap My Shortcuts if the app doesn’t open on that tab already.
- Tap All Shortcuts if your shortcuts library isn’t already displayed.
- Choose Select.
- Tap the shortcuts that you want to move.
- Hold and drag your shortcuts to the new positions in your library.
- Tap Done.
Note: Once you’re finished, any changes you’ve made to the placement of your shortcuts in the app will sync over to your other device if you have iCloud enabled.
In Today view
To use the Shortcuts Today View widget, you’ll first need to add it to your Today view first.
- Swipe to the right on your home screen or lock screen to display the Today view.
- In the top-right corner of the Shortcuts widget, choose Show More button (it looks like an arrow on iOS 13).
- Tap Customize in Shortcuts.
- Pick the shortcuts you want to add to or remove from the widget. (Shortcuts that on the widget will have a checkmark)
- Tap and hold on the movement handles on that shortcuts.
- Drag your chosen shortcuts up or down to organize.
- Tap Done to finish.
Tips for Organizing Shortcuts
- Using color for each category. For example, the color red is calendar related or blue is for messages. It is a pretty simple association, but the app will work really well when you get used to it.
- Try to use the custom icons and sentences that are verbs. For example, if you ask Siri to run a shortcut, it should be like “Open video tasks” or something like that.
Shortcuts has so much potential and I believe it will have more attention in the future. The developers are going to have more power with their shortcuts. So, they’ll be able to do more and have interactivity in the new compact UI that makes simple things like images or subtext more useful. Maybe we will be able to do more powerful things or have more features for homepods and airpods in Shortcuts. What is the best thing you like about Siri shortcuts? Let us know in the comments!